LOCAL

Pilot returns home to be honored as king of Elks Freedom Ball to support veterans

Staff Report
Shown from left are Royal Couple Jamison and Heather Dore, Royal Couple Percy and Bonnita Matsuda, Duke Frank Joffrion, Grand Duke Brandon Katz, Ball Captain Tamiko Francis Garrison, King Oscar Evans, Queen Taylor Walker, Duchess Devyn Hambrick, Royal Couple Juanita Pearley and Sherman Verner, Dr. Arthur and Cindy Joffrion. Not pictured: Royal Couple Reagan and Irasema Katz, Grand Dukes Paul “Louie” Viallon, VI, Christian Katz, Shae Castillo, Steven Castillo, Duke Jordan Theiler, Duchesses Ashleigh Evans, Ainslee Evans, Governess Amanda Liotto, Marchioness Reami Rogers, and Marquee Corbin Rogers.

Taylor Noel Walker and ball captain the Honorable Tamiko Francis Garrison announced the Donaldsonville Elks inaugural Freedom Ball, featuring Party at Joe's, set for Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Ascension Gym at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

King Jolly Goodfellow XC, Oscar Evans, is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and fighter pilot. He graduated from Ascension Catholic High School in 1985, Louisiana Tech University in 1989 and was commissioned as a US Naval Officer in May 1990.

He received his Wings of Gold in September 1992 and went on to fly F/A 18 Hornets. He amassed almost 2,000 hours in the Hornet and has almost 400 carrier landings.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) Adversary Course. After his Naval service, he joined the Bayou Militia of the Louisiana Air National Guard where he flew the F15 Eagle for seven years and retired in 2010.

Evans received the Meritorious Service Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal, and many other personal and unit commendations during his 20 years of active duty.

He is a Realtor, business consultant, and small rancher in Homedale, Idaho. He is married to Clara-Leigh, and they have three children, Ashleigh, Ainslee, and Garrett.

The Freedom Ball is a public fundraising program hosted by Donaldsonville Elks Lodge No. 1153 to support veteran service programs.

The Freedom Ball includes all of the traditions and fanfare of a traditional carnival ball and is a continuation of the Elk’s Carnival Ball celebrating its 90th Year Anniversary.

Proceeds from the ball will provide services that benefit the health and well-being of veterans; those who serve, have served, and have given their lives.

The Elks pledge is “So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them.”

Some of the Elks programs supporting veterans include the Elks Adaptive Sports and Therapy Kits Program, the Welcome Home Initiative, Veterans Expressions Ceremony, the Veterans Day Ceremony, Veterans Walk of Honor, Memorial Day Celebration, Veterans Food Drive, Low Income Veteran Housing Assistance Program, Veterans PTSD Counseling Support Group, Veterans Job Fair, Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Mark Bergeron Honorary Student Scholarship Program, the Veterans Leadership Roundtable, the Veterans Golf Classic, and the Freedom Ball.

The Inaugural Freedom Ball will be featuring special guest masters of ceremonies, Maxine Crump and Johnny Ayhsen both lifelong career journalists, community servants, and philanthropists.

Also being honored at the Freedom Ball will be five grand marshals who are being recognized for their military service careers as well as their commitment to the community.

Those being honored are Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Webre of Gonzales, Charles J. “Jay” Lemann, Jr. of Donaldsonville, Paul Louis “Kip” Viallon, V of Belle Rose, Leroy J. Sullivan, Jr. of Dumfries, Virginia, and Ronald H. “Ronnie” Baker of Gonzales.

Serving in the Inaugural Freedom Ball Royal Court are Percy and Bonnita Matsuda of Gonzales, Sherman Verner and Juanita Pearley of Gonzales and Donaldsonville, Jamison and Heather Dore of Donaldsonville, Dr. Arthur Joffrion and Cindy Joffrion of Plaquemine, and Reagan and Irasema “Sema” Katz of Hacienda Heights, California.

Dukes and Duchesses include Grand Dukes are Paul Louis “Louie” Viallon, VI, Brandon Michael Katz of Donaldsonville, Christian Bailey Katz of Prairieville, Shae Marlowe Castillo of Hacienda Heights, California, Steven Wolfgang Castillo of Hacienda Heights, California, and Duke Frank Joseph Joffrion of Plaquemine, and Jordan Glenn Theiler of Memphis, Tennessee.

Duchesses include Devyn Yvonne Hambrick of Donaldsonville, Ashleigh Adele Evans of Homedale, Idaho, Ainslee Angelle Evans of Homedale, Idaho.

Also participating will be Princess Ayden Marie Riche' of Napoleonville, and Governess Amanda Liotto, Marchioness Reami Rogers and Marquee Corbin Rogers, all of Prairieville.

The Freedom Ball is now accepting reservations. Corporations, members, and the public are invited to celebrate the event and all reservations are tax deductible. Table / ticket reservations must be submitted by January 11, 2023. For more information, interested participants can call 225.445.1383.

The Donaldsonville Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a constituent member of the BPOE Elks of the USA and is a fraternal organization among hundreds of thousands of members, more than 2,000 lodges, and a 150-plus year history.

The lodge was founded in 1909.

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at facebook.com/WeeklyCitizen and facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleChief.